Marriage Equality

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    So, I know this is probably another disagreeable issue among libertarians, but what are your stances on redefining marriage/marriage equality. I know some think it should be left to the states to decide. Some thing any marriage should be allowed anywhere in the country.

    I also know Dr. Woods and Dr. Casey are Catholic and was wondering how Catholic Social teaching on this issue might inform their view. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


    Do you need the permission of the State to marry?
    Do I have the right to tell you which person you can or cannot marry?
    Of course not!
    I don’t think the government has anything to do with marriage. If you want to marry a person you love, do it in a church, a mosque, a synagogue or any other place. Why should the government be involved at all? The private sector would provide contracts that a married couple can sign if it wants to go beyond the symbolic meaning of marriage. As soon as the government gets involved, we have the same problems. Is gay marriage, polygamy etc. allowed? Some people would love to ban gay marriage others do not. Nobody should rule over his fellow citizens! This problem does not exist in the private sector. That’s my take

    Jason Jewell

    Recommended reading on this question:


    Thanks Dr. J! Certainly an interesting perspective.


    Unfortunately, the current U.S. situation makes things a bit sticky because

    1) The Federal and State governments are already heavily involved in licensing and sanctioning marriage.

    2) A Federal law passing “Marriage equality” would allow homosexual couples to marry in any state. Those with same sex attractions would probably argue that this makes them more free. However, it would also bring about other mandates for public education [with regard to sex ed, family life, etc.]. Also, it might bring about coercion of businesses with regard to other matters [e.g. a photographer was forced to take wedding pictures of a same sex couple].

    3) What is truly the best policy for the U.S. regarding this issue? I honestly don’t believe a Federal Amendment would be a good way to proceed. Perhaps, it should just be left to the states? That then invokes the problem of whether the people of the state will get to vote or if judges of that state will just decide for the state.

    4) It certainly seems like the mess comes from having the State so entangled with marriage in the first place.


    I am entirely for gay marriage or whatever you want to call it. The State has no business dictating who you love or how you love. That being said, since the State is already so engrained in the marriage question, this is one subject where I think a federal initiative would benefit.

    I say this because when I was trying to convince some of my liberal friends that a Ron Paul presidency wouldn’t mean an outright ban on gay marriage as many of the other Republican candidates advocated, and that RP would leave it up to the states to decide, a gay friend of mine laid bare some facts I had not previously considered.

    He went to university overseas and fell in love with a foreign man while there. If gay marriage were left up to the states, it still does not allow his partner to emigrate to the US on a spousal visa because that is a federal issue, not a state issue. He also brought up the issue of filing taxes. While at the State level they could file a joint tax return, when they do their federal return they would have to do a completely different tax return because the federal government doesn’t recognize gay married couples like they do heterosexual couples.

    If the role of government is to protect liberty, then the freedom to marry who one chooses and to not be treated differently for this just because the person you love is of the same sex needs to be protected not only at the state level but at the federal level. This should hold true whether you think this is a lifestyle choice or whether you believe people are born this way. Like other choices, libertarians do not believe the State can regulate and legislate people from making bad choices. If you believe homosexuality is merely a choice and not innate, adhering to libertarian doctrine means still accepting this and protecting this choice as on the basis of any morally questionable choice an individual makes that does not harm any other individual such as how libertarians advocate for drug legalization.

    As it stands, my friend and his partner are living in Australia as they can both get temporary visas there while they try and figure out their future. Also, my husband is Australian and when looking at spousal visa requirements for me to move to Australia, I noticed that the Australian government is fully accepting of gay married couples trying to get spousal visas for their partners. So it seems the U.S. is behind other nations in this regard.


    Haley11, you make some good points. But there are problems that arise with a Federal amendment. I can think of 3 examples off the top of my head that would be be ILLEGAL if there were to be a new marriage amendment.

    1. An adoption agency gives special consideration to married couples, but does not acknowledge same sex couples as being married.

    2. A private hospital gives special visitation rights to spouses of married couples but it does not acknowledge same sex couples as being married.

    3. A state public school includes marriage education in its curriculum and chooses to teach that only heterosexual marriages are legitimate.

    I would argue that 1, 2, and 3 should all be legal; institutions have a choice of what they want to recognize as marriage. By instituting a Federal law mandating same sex marriage acceptance across the states, we would open up the door to more govt intrusion in the peoples’ private decisions.

    Also, if the constitution means anything, it would take a Federal Amendment (3/4 of states voting yes) to make same sex marriage the law of the land, since there is nothing in the Constitution that says the legislature can tell the states what they have to do about marriage.

    As far as the immigration visas and such, you do bring up a great point. However, I think the problem is government getting involved and sanctioning marriages in the first place. Idk how immigration would work on a completely free market, but I think it might alleviate those problems better than govt decree.


    I’m not necessarily advocating an amendment, more like a law akin to the DOMA. It could still be cheekily called the same thing though 😉

    I guess as I’m sitting here reasoning this out I’m realizing it might be counterproductive even from that angle. The states could still nullify it I suppose. And it might further politicize an issue that shouldn’t be political to begin with, making it a certainty that the leftist voters out there are only voting on 1 or 2 issues while ignoring the big picture (although that wouldn’t be far from what’s happening now anyway). Now candidates would have to campaign on whether or not they would repeal the REAL Defense of Marriage Act much like they have to meticulously outline their stance on Roe v. Wade and this just turns into a sideshow circus and only ensures that real issues like the Fed and all of our wars will never be debated.

    But, what else can you do when it’s clear that government isn’t going to magically decide it doesn’t need to be in the marriage equation at all and miraculously turns it over to individuals?

    I’m finding that’s the problem with a lot of libertarian solutions is that many of them can’t be implemented without basically going back to 0 and starting over. Secession…?


    Haha. In regard to marriage and the state, it definitely seems that they are so annoyingly intertwined that it would be difficult to go back to how things were. Then again, it wasn’t all that long ago in which the state had nothing to do with the marriage business. I have not looked into it, but my guess is it was right around when the Federal income tax became a thing, which ironically, is right around the time we got the Federal Reserve. If that’s accurate, 100 years of bad economic social policy might allow us to change some minds regarding those issues and others.

    Roe v. Wade is also flat out unconstitutional if you are a strict constructionist.


    it doesn’t matter what we think: in the end, federal courts will decide. They’ll do it because the question is interesting, and because no one can stop them. If past be prologue, they’ll rule that the Constitution requires that homosexual “marriage” be recognized, because federal courts have an almost perfect record these 76 years of ruling against traditional Christian views and of ruling against states’ 10th Amendment rights.

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